Raising the bar on life

So this week-end has really shaken things up for me.  My running buddy was the first person I told I was going to give up drinking the week-end before I did and this was our first time together again since that day.  Not only that but it was a week-end of more firsts – first hotel, first organised run event, first meal out with friend, all sober.

Don’t get me wrong it was a huge success and I feel so proud of myself but that in itself has created a bit of a problem.  See when you start to do well in some aspects of your life you, or I at least, start to question other elements of it that are less rosy.  It’s like you raise the bar on life.

See before if I wasn’t particularly happy about something that was happening, or I had to do, I would drink, smoke and moan to a friend.  You know ‘poor me, poor me, pour me another one’.  But 2/3rd’s of that coping strategy is no longer available to me and so I find myself in a bit of a conniption (I love that word and just had to use it!)

I used to be a happy little wage slave and the private and public corporations could do their worst and I would drink.  Annoying person in the office?  Have a drink when you get home.  Dull and boring task?  Reward yourself later.  So I am struggling with the whole happy in my work day existence and the fabulous week-end just drew attention to that fact.  I love my job, I just hate the office politics and am not very good at playing the game or keeping my mouth shut – can you tell? 😉

What I’m struggling with is do I trust myself and my emotions in these early days?  It feels like a real issue but I can’t work out if it’s a ruse to destabilise things and make drinking more likely or if I genuinely am just not happy with the status quo in a way that I used to be before.  Maybe I’ve always been less than happy with things and I just need to let it go.  I really don’t know and it is giving me angst.

If there are any wise words that you can offer I’d much appreciate it.  Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments section below 🙂

 

16 thoughts on “Raising the bar on life

  1. Love the aptness of ‘raising the bar’.
    Maybe you were drinking to cover the unhappiness and now you are having to face the fact that certain elements of your life do not fit. I feel very similar, which is why we moved out of the city and to a farm cottage this year – urban living made me ill. I also write like never before – as a drinker I always felt I would be rubbish so why bother – and getting sober has allowed me freedom to take a risk and not try to predict the outcome, just to run with it and see what happens. Your journey can be very exciting? xxx

    1. I agree Binks – but there is this little voice in my head that is saying ‘but are you just doing the geographicals’? (an AA term). Externalising an unhappiness that is within me not outside xx

  2. This is a really interesting question. In the same way that we can avoid feeling difficult feelings with alcohol, I think we can use it to make difficult or uncomfortable situations tolerable. Just have a drink and forget about it for a while. In the same way that quitting alcohol makes us confront our feelings / emotions and deal with them instead of avoid them, do we not have to do the same with difficult positions we find ourselves in? While I was drinking I felt very unhappy with some aspects of my situation in life. I felt “stuck”. When I quit alcohol I latched onto the idea that it was the booze that was keeping me stuck, but now I don’t think that’s true. I think that drinking made the situation bearable, tolerable. Now the booze is gone, now is the time I need to start making those changes, because now I really have to. I don’t think this is always externalising unhappiness – sometimes situations are just problematical and need changing. What we need is the strength and courage to make those changes that we can. (ooh, I’m thinking all serenity prayer now…) Here’s my advice cos I’m such a fucking expert: take your time and trust yourself. xxx
    PS love the word ‘conniption’. You are an education 😉

    1. Morning MTM 🙂 Was having a difficult time of it last night so thought it best to wait until this morning when I would respond in a more level way to all the comments from yesterday! I agree completely with what you say and as someone who has boundary issues I find it really difficult to work out where my responsibility stops and starts, hence the concern about externalising unhappiness. As a f*king expert your advice was spot on 😉 xx

  3. Hi Lucy,
    I haven’t been to AA so the term ‘doing the geographical s’ is new to me. But even so it doesn’t seem to apply here. I am hearing you describe a very specific problem in a particular area of your life – not an over -arching unhappiness or general malaise.

    How long have you been AF for? I have been told several times not to make any major life changing decisions in the first year of getting sober. That said, I think one of the many gifts of getting sober is the emergence of your real authentic voice after the fog of years of boozing. So I would definitely be curiously listening to ths voice, and suspect it has something useful to tell you. Perhaps listen and notice for now, and trust that you will recognise when it s time to act on what you are hearing.

    1. Hi CycleSal 🙂 Thank you for listening so carefully and therefore helping me clarify the issue. I’ve been AF for coming up 8 months and I am aware of the one year advice and that is at the back of my mind. Thing is because of the nature of my job now is a good time to think about a move as the new academic year starts in Sept and is a natural transition point and will be under the 1 year time frame. Will listen and ponder further in the next two months and see what presents itself.

  4. Wow, this is really a chicken-egg sort of question.Similarly, I have found myself asking if my anxiety issues stemmed from drinking or if I used alcohol to cope with my anxiety issues. I think its a continuous loop but I’m not sure where/when/how it started.

    It sounds like you are going through a completely natural and healthy change in the way you think about things. It sounds like a positive thing to me and I too think it would be good to just observe your feelings for the time being. I remember learning that in yoga years ago– to observe your uncomfortableness and not take action. It’s a really cool concept. I think what to do will become apparent to you but that making huge changes might divert your attention from working out some internal issues. Take this for what it is worth– I think I ended up talking to myself here! 🙂

    1. Hey Lulu! Nice blog you have 🙂 Indeed that is the crux of the issue, changing things on the outside to divert attention away from stuff on the inside. Been very good at keeping myself busy as a way of not addressing things – driven by it really. Hence why the sitting with it and just observing is so bloody uncomfortable – I just go into immediate problem solving mode! If you were talking to yourself I’m glad I overheard 😉

  5. Thank you kind ladies for your replies 🙂 I’ve had an incredibly shitty day at work and am going to immerse myself in the bath before I give in to the urge to drown myself in wine. Will reply to you all individually tomorrow when I’ve survived today – day 237 without cracking and picking up a drink xx

      1. Hey Binks Thanks for your concern lovely and much better this morning xx

  6. Lou, I love reading your blogs and reading the comments. I haven’t stopped drinking, but everyone is making me think about my own demons and how I cope with them. Thank you all for sharing!

    1. Hi Sarah Thank you 🙂 Many of us started out as still drinking lurkers so it doesn’t matter. Hope it continues to help you and you’re welcome.

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